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Old 12-03-2011, 02:55 PM   #1
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Water in Fuel Oil


I have been notified by our fuel oil delivery company that water was found in the tank and it was also found the year before. They told me that they cannot deliver anymore fuel oil if they find water in the tank two years in a row and we will have to install a new oil tank. Is this situation common?
It seems to me that the water is normal condensation. Now how would the oil company know the differance between condensation and water leaking into the tank?
In the last two weeks, I had to call for Maintenance Service twice and the first serviceman wrote on his report that there was 2 inches of water in the tank. The second serviceman wrote there was zero water. So I do not know what to make of this.
I believe I have a 150 gallon oil tank which fuels our hotwater needs and heating the house. Just how much water can accumlate from condensation in a below ground tank in one years time? I live in Levittown, Pa.
I have been in my house for only a year and 3 months and the former owner was also under contract with the same company. It seems to me that the former owner must have had water in the tank too.
Your thoughts?

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Old 12-03-2011, 04:53 PM   #2
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Water in Fuel Oil


Get it replaced. How old is the tank? Moisture can happen if the tank is let to go down too far.

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Old 12-03-2011, 04:59 PM   #3
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Water in Fuel Oil


There are many variables to consider. Your location, temperature changes, how often it is filled, etc. You should not have 2" of water in it.

Is this a plain steel tank? Or is it a double wall tank?

You do understand the concern of the oil company don't you? If your tank is leaking, they don't want to keep putting in oil. Sorry to say, you may have an environmental nightmare on your hands. Yes, groundwater can seep into the tank too.

Cleanup costs can be very high, depending upon how much oil has actually leaked. Was the tank inspected before you bought the property? Even then, there is no good way to inspect short of removing it.

Get rid of the tank. It's a ticking time bomb. Put one in aboveground or change to another form of heat.
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Old 12-03-2011, 05:29 PM   #4
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Water in Fuel Oil


Not to sound repetitive but: cleanup costs can be VERY HIGH. once the EPA people find out then all the contaminated soil needs removing and further soil testing at your cost has to be done etc etc. not something you want to go thru.
if it gets into the groundwater or a stream you can be in serious legal trouble.

as the saying goes: "ignorance of the law is no excuse"
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Old 12-03-2011, 05:37 PM   #5
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Water in Fuel Oil


Water would be sitting on the bottom of the tank, not sure how the oil company if they were just filling the tank could see the water unless the oil becomes a creamy color which would mean the oil is mixing with the water.
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Old 12-03-2011, 05:41 PM   #6
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Water in Fuel Oil


They may "stick" the tank. There is a substance that you put on the rod that will detect water.
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Old 12-03-2011, 05:41 PM   #7
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They may stick a rod with a indicator strip on it to test the tank as part of their mandate. just like gas stations test their tanks.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:41 PM   #8
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Water in Fuel Oil


Thanks all,
But you all missed the important questions. Why now is this company notifying me now after two seasons of cold weather and I been owner of the property for 1 year and 3 months? The former owner was a widow and all know widows do not keep up their homes when their other half passes away. I would bet she was getting water in the tank when she owned the property. I am not against replacing the tank but on the other hand, I do not want to be SCAMMED, especially when it could be Christmas for the fuel oil company and not for me. The salesman call to me that I need to replace the fuel oil tank sounds like a Christmas present.
And the most important questions are:
How do they determine the differance between condensation and water penetration of the tank? I already mentioned one report stated I had 2 inches of water & the last report stated I had none. This has me confused. What the heck!! They might find water in the tank if it was above ground; so answer me that if you can. I do not want to come off sounding like some smart ass, but in these times of tight money, the public has to be careful; especially as to the cost of digging up the tank and replacing it with a surface tank.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:50 PM   #9
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Water in Fuel Oil


One of our senior Pros, Beenthere does oil in PA and may be around later to help you.
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:02 PM   #10
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Thanks Yuri,
I hope he see's this thread.

By the way, is there a Federal or State regulation that an underground oil tank needs to be replaced just on suspicion of water being caused by leaking into the tank as against condensation?

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Old 12-03-2011, 07:05 PM   #11
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Water in Fuel Oil


Quote:
Why now is this company notifying me now after two seasons of cold weather and I been owner of the property for 1 year and 3 months?
Because they've finally figured out, yer tank is Leakin'....

Previous owner is irrelevant, it didn't leak then...

oil tanks don't sweat near as much as you seem to Think they do...
Above ground tanks, sweat More than below grade tanks...
There's less temp variations below grade...

We're All broke, 'n it sucks it's Christmas time,....
But that don't change the fact that you've got a Leakin' in-ground oil tank...
The cheapest, quickest way out, is an above ground tank elsewhere, 'n maybe you can delay diggin' out the old 1 for a while...
It could be pumped into the new tank, salvagin' the oil, 'n leavin' the water...
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:12 PM   #12
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Water in Fuel Oil


yes i also would pump out tank. install new above ground tank and make arrangements to have the old one removed a.sa.p you don't fuel oil leaking into the ground.......worked for petroleum companys years back....trust me you don't want epa down your back...not worth it..Ben
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:24 PM   #13
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Water in Fuel Oil


Thanks Bens Plumbing & Bondo,
I can get the tank replaced and I heard from others that it could be a $4000.00 job. I may have to look at my options to afford the cost.
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:29 PM   #14
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Water in Fuel Oil


Quote:
Originally Posted by rjordan393 View Post
Thanks Yuri,
I hope he see's this thread.

By the way, is there a Federal or State regulation that an underground oil tank needs to be replaced just on suspicion of water being caused by leaking into the tank as against condensation?
http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/02...hap245toc.html
http://www.nfpa.org/faq.asp?category...&cookie_test=1
http://www.epa.gov/oust/faqs/heatoil.htm
http://inspectapedia.com/oiltanks/tanks-nj.htm
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:30 PM   #15
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Water in Fuel Oil


Quote:
Originally Posted by rjordan393 View Post
Thanks all,
But you all missed the important questions. Why now is this company notifying me now after two seasons of cold weather and I been owner of the property for 1 year and 3 months? The former owner was a widow and all know widows do not keep up their homes when their other half passes away. I would bet she was getting water in the tank when she owned the property. I am not against replacing the tank but on the other hand, I do not want to be SCAMMED, especially when it could be Christmas for the fuel oil company and not for me. The salesman call to me that I need to replace the fuel oil tank sounds like a Christmas present.
And the most important questions are:
How do they determine the differance between condensation and water penetration of the tank? I already mentioned one report stated I had 2 inches of water & the last report stated I had none. This has me confused. What the heck!! They might find water in the tank if it was above ground; so answer me that if you can. I do not want to come off sounding like some smart ass, but in these times of tight money, the public has to be careful; especially as to the cost of digging up the tank and replacing it with a surface tank.
And no, not every widow sells their homes the minute that their spouse's pass.

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